Archive for the ‘Work File Only – Observer’s Challenge Reports’ category

M106 – Spiral Galaxy in Canes Venatici: May 2022 Observer’s Challenge Report #160

May 16, 2022

Work-File: Used only for organization and editing. When all entries are received (June 8th) a final and a .pdf report will be issued by the 10th, and at that time will be posted on this page.

Phil Orbanes: Observer from Massachusetts

Attached is my image of galaxy M106  in Ursa Major.

It includes 18 hours of imaging taken in 2014,15,16 and again last month. I had a pretty good image by 2016, but the real challenge of M106 is to reveal the faint area between its colorful core and bright extended outer arms. I hadn’t quite achieved this. So I decided to add more imaging time before reprocessing and submitting to the Observer’s Challenge report. I was able to bring  out the faint areas and also the unusual Ha jets perpendicular to the plane of the galaxy, caused by its very active core and supermassive back hole. Also visible is NGC 4248, one of M106’s companion galaxies.

I used a 14-inch Planewave reflector and FLI 16803 CCD camera. The exposure time was divided evenly between R, G and B, Ha filters.

Mario Motta: Observer from Massachusetts

Last week (W.E. 5-14) I spent all night to get M106 in color. A difficult object, though the center is relatively bright, the faint blue outer arms are exceedingly faint. So I actually then added my Lum images from 3 years ago, to last weeks images. For a total of about 3 hours Lum, 1 hour each Red/Blue/green each, and, then I added H alpha 1 hour as well, so this is a total of 7 hours imaging. 

Quite a bit of processing to get this just right, redone several times! Those outer arms a very difficult to obtain. However, I learned quite a bit on this one (and I have been imaging for more than 30 years), which will make my next set of galaxies much easier.

M106 is 25 million light years away, and it is a Seyfert active galaxy. When adding the Hydrogen alpha overlay, I was surprised to see a strand of gas coming out of the nucleus. You can see it in my image left upper of center. At first I thought may be artifact, so looked at professional images, and the Hubble view. The red sprite of gas is a real structure (very well seen by Hubble in fact), part of the active center!

This was gratifying to see, and my color matches the Hubble and others so I think I did this correctly. The May Observer’s Challenge galaxy has fascinating secrets to show.

David Rust: Observer from Indiana

Image specifications:

TPO R-C 8-inch f/8.0

ZWO ASI2600 Pro Color CMOS camera

iOptron CEM40 w/iPolar mount

Hutech IDAS HEUIB-II filter (RGB narrow bands plus Ha, Hb, OIII, Na)

ASIair Pro controller

Pixinsight for first stretch, the rest in photoshop

20X300sec subs for 1:40 integration

The following image was made from my driveway under a Bortle 4 sky.

Sameer Bharadwaj Massachusetts and Andrea Bergamini From Amsterdam

Object: M106 

Equipment: 10-inch RC at 1600 mm 

Location: Remote observatory in Spain near Fregenal de la Sierra

Dates: Multiple nights in April 2022

NGC 5474 – Galaxy in Ursa Major: June 2022 Observer’s Challenge Report #161

April 28, 2022

Work-File: Used only for organization and editing. When all entries are received (July 8th) a final and a .pdf report will be issued by the 10th of July, and at that time will be posted on this page.

James Dire: Observer from Illinois

Date/LocationMarch 7, 2021 Jubilee College State Park, Illinois
Camera and SettingsSBIG STF-8300C CCD camera -20°C
TelescopeAskar 72mm f.5.6 Qunituplet Apo with a 0.7x focal reducer to yield f/3.9
MountCelesctron CGEM II
Exposure100 min (10 x10 min)
ProcessingCCDOpts, Image Plus 6.5, Photoshop CS6
OtherSpiral galaxy in constellation Coma Berenices; mag. 9.31, size 6.0 x 5.5 arcmin. Galaxies brighter than magnitude 14 labeled in the image.

Mario Motta: Observer from Massachusetts

NGC 5474, a distorted galaxy near M101. The following image this is 90 minutes of imaging Lum filter only.

Taken with my 32-inch f/6.5 telescope, with ZWO ASI6200 camera,  stacked and processed with pixinsight. This is a “dwarf spiral satellite galaxy” of M101, distorted with an off-set center, and spiral arms.

David Rust: Image Information later

NGC 1501 – Planetary Nebula in Camelopardalis: January 2022 Observer’s Challenge Report #156

January 19, 2022

Work-File: Used only for organization and editing. When all entries are received, a final .pdf report will be issued by the 10th of February. And the link will be posted on this page.

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

January 2022

Report #156

NGC 1501 Planetary Nebula in Camelopardalis

This month’s target:

William Herschel discovered NGC 1501 with his 18.7″ reflector on 3 November 1787. As handwritten by his sister Caroline, his description, reads: A very curious Planetary nebula near 1′ diameter. Round, pretty-well defined of a uniform light and pretty bright. Not surprisingly, the open cluster NGC 1502, sitting just 1.4° north of the nebula, was the next discovery in Herschel’s sweep.

Lawrence Parsons (the 4th Earl of Ross) and his assistant Ralph Copeland observed NGC 1501 several times with the 72-inch Leviathan… Perhaps the best description comes from Lord Rosse’s observation on 15 January 1868: A bright ring and inside it a dark annulus, very decided. A star in the centre seen very clearly and continuously with various powers; suspect variable [unequal?] brightness in the ring, perhaps a dark spot in it nearly on the preceding [western] side. The following [eastern] side of the ring appears broadest and to approach the central star nearer than the preceding side does. The north and south sides of the ring seem rather brighter than the preceding and following sides. Suspect other bright points in it, but am not at all certain. It is slightly elliptical, its major axis being preceding and following.

Complete and Finalized Report: Click on the following Link:

january-2022-observers-challenge-_ngc-1501

Pencil Sketch of NGC 1501 – Planetary nebula in Camelopardalis  

NGC 7662 Planetary Nebula in Andromeda: November 2021 Observer’s Challenge Report #154

November 19, 2021

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

November 2021

Report #154

NGC 7662 Planetary Nebula in Andromeda

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

Final November .pdf report, click on the following link:

This is the observer’s challenge “Work-File” report: Used only for organization and editing. When all entries are received, a .pdf report will be issued by the 10th of December. And the link will be posted on this page.

Commonly called the Blue Snowball, the planetary nebula NGC 7662 dwells in the northern reaches of Andromeda. Its nickname springs from an article by Leland S. Copeland in the February 1960 issue of Sky & Telescope magazine. Copeland describes the nebula as “looking like a light blue snowball.” 

William Herschel discovered this nebula on October 6, 1784, with this 18.7-inch reflector. His journal entry reads: A wonderful bright, round planetary pretty well defined disk, a little eliptical [sic]; perhaps 10 or 12″ diameter. Another entry from October 3, 1790, endearingly states: My planetary nebula. A very beautiful object, with a vS [very small] star following; giving one the idea of a large Planet with a vS satellite. In his impressive new book, William Herschel Discoverer of the Deep Sky, NGC/IC researcher Wolfgang Steinicke credits William Herschel with 10 observations of NGC 7662.



NGC 6857: Emission Nebula – Cygnus: October 2021 Observer’s Challenge Report #153

October 13, 2021

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

October 2021

Report #153

Click on the following link, for the complete report:

october-2021-observers-challenge-_ngc-6857-1

This month’s target:

William Herschel discovered NGC 6857 on 6 September 1784. His handwritten journal for that date reads: A patch containing some nebulosity…irregularly long.

Heinrich d’Arrest writes of this object and his observation of it in his 1867 Siderum Nebulosorum Observationes Havnienses. My very loosely paraphrased English for the Latin text: Minute, faint; it is most probably a cluster. A 12th-magnitude star precedes it. – Rechecked shortly after: it was not so small; not all of the nebula is resolved, there is at least some cloudiness. I’m not surprised that this was missed by Rosse.

NGC 6857 is the brightest part of the larger, star-forming emission region Sharpless 2-100, which is a much more difficult visual target than NGC 6857. 

A 2010 paper by Manash Samal and colleagues in the Astrophysical Journal indicates that the main ionizing source at the center of NGC 6857 is the bright, massive star at its heart. This compact nebula is estimated to be approximately 28 thousand light-years away from us, and the star is thought to have a spectral type of about OIII. The most likely age of the nebula is in the vicinity of 1 to 2 million years. (Intro and object information by Sue French)

NGC 6823/Sh 2-86: Open Cluster/Emission Nebula in Vulpecula: September Observer’s Challenge Report #152

September 13, 2021

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

September 2021

Report #152

NGC 6823 & Sh 2-86, Open Cluster & Emission Nebula in Vulpecula

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

Observer’s Challenge Report: Final

September 2021 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _NGC 6823 & Sh 2-86

This month’s target:

The nebula surrounding the open cluster NGC 6823 suffers an identity crisis. It’s not NGC 6820, as many sources claim, but rather a small knot of nebulosity 16 arcminutes in position angle 218 degrees (southwest by south) from the bright quadruple star at the cluster’s heart. 

Here is NGC/IC maven Harold Corwin’s explanation:

NGC 6820 is a small knot of nebulosity, roughly 1′ × 1′, perhaps a reflection nebula around a few young stars or pre-stellar objects. It is specifically NOT the much larger HII region Sharpless 2-86 as has been many times been claimed, nor is it the cluster Collinder 404 = OCl 122, though that may 

represent the stars involved with the nebula. Marth’s original observation with Lassell’s 48-inch reflector mentions only the nebulosity: “F, S, R, bM”. [Faint, small, round, brighter in the middle]

http://haroldcorwin.net/ngcic/ngcnotes.all 

The position of NGC 6820 is 19h 42m 27.9s  +23° 05′ 15″. Consider this a bonus object if you’d like.

Information above compiled by Sue French

Jaakko Saloranta: Observer from Finland (Pencil Sketch)

M57, Planetary Nebula in Lyra: August 2021 Observer’s Challenge Report #151

August 17, 2021

august-2021-observers-challenge-_m57Download


Roger Ivester: Observer from North Carolina

10-inch reflector, fairly bright with well defined edges, gray in color, oval shape with a center void.  Both the NW and SW sides are brighter with greater concentration.  The ring is much lighter, or thiner on the NW, and also on the SE, but more subtle.  A 12th magnitude star lies, so very close to the east of the ring.

3.5-inch Maksutov-Cassegrain telescope at a magnification of 146x, the ring nebula is presented as very dim, round but mostly featureless. The central void can be seen, but fairly difficult.  

102mm refractor at 175x, shows the ring as surprisingly bright on this night of exceptional viewing with sharp and well defined edges.  The center void can be seen, but only as a lighter round gray spot, within the ring. Bright star just to the east.

Pencil sketch below:  

NGC 5746, Galaxy in Virgo: June 2021 Observer’s Galaxy Report #149

June 14, 2021

Monthly Observer’s Challenge

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

June 2021

NGC 5746, Galaxy in Virgo

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomer’s Together

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

june-2021-observers-challenge-_ngc-5746Download

This month’s target

William Herschel discovered NGC 5746 on 24 February 1786 with his 18.7-inch reflector. His handwritten journal reads:” Extremely bright, much extended in the parallel, 8 or 9 arcminutes long, bright nucleus.”

A recent study by John Kormendy and Ralf Bender in the Astrophysical Journal presents NGC 5746 as a structural analog of our own galaxy. Both are “are giant, SBb–SBbc galaxies with two pseudobulges, i.e., a compact, disky, star-forming pseudobulge embedded in a vertically thick, ‘red and dead,’ boxy pseudobulge that really is a bar seen almost end-on.” According to the authors, the lives of these galaxies have been dominated by minor mergers and bar-driven evolution for most of the history of the universe. They place NGC 5746 at a distance of 26.7 Mpc (87 million light-years). https://ui.adsabs.harvard.edu/#abs/2019ApJ…872..106K/abstract

NGC 5746’s V(V_T) visual magnitude is 10.32 ± 0.13, and its surface brightness is 12.6. The galaxy’s visible extent through medium-size amateur telescopes under dark skies is in the vicinity of 7.4′ × 1.3′.

Globular Cluster, M3, NGC 5272 in Canes Venatici: May 2021 Observer’s Challenge Report #148

May 19, 2021

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

May 2021

Report #148

Messier 3 (NGC 5272), Globular Cluster in Canes Venatici

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

Introductio

This month’s target

Charles Messier discovered M3 on 3 May 1764 with a 3.5-inch refractor. The French text of Messier’s catalog in the Connaissance des Temps translates into English as: “Nebula discovered between the Herdsman and one of the Hunting Dogs of Hevelius; it does not contain a star, the center is brilliant & its light imperceptibly fades, it is round; when the sky is good, one can see it with a refractor of one foot [at the time, telescopes were generally described by their length]; it is reported on the Chart of the Comet observed in 1779. Mémoires de l’Académie of the same year. Reexamined 29 March 1781, still very beautiful.”

According to William H. Harris’ Catalog Of Parameters For Milky Way Globular Clusters,

http://physwww.mcmaster.ca/~harris/mwgc.dat , M3 resides 10.2 kiloparsecs (~33,000 light-years) away from us and 12.0 kiloparsecs (~39,000 light-years) from the galactic center. It shines with an integrated V-magnitude of 6.19, and the spectral type of the integrated cluster light is F6. Does its color look slightly yellow to you?

May 2021 Observer’s Challenge Complete Report: may-2021-observers-challenge-_m3-2

NGC 3226 and NGC 3227, Galaxies in Leo: April 2021 Observer’s Challenge Report #147

April 16, 2021

MONTHLY OBSERVER’S CHALLENGE

Compiled by:

Roger Ivester, North Carolina

&

Sue French, New York

April 2021

Report #147

NGC 3226 & NGC 3227, Galaxies in Leo

Sharing Observations and Bringing Amateur Astronomers Together

This month’s target

William Herschel discovered this interacting galaxy pair on 15 February 1784 with his 18.7-inch speculum-metal reflector. His hand-written journal of the discovery reads: “Two nebulae almost close together. Perhaps 1½ or 2′ asunder, they are pretty considerable in size, and of a roundish form; but not cometic; they are very faint.” He also notes that on this night he first used: “A new, large object Speculum. It is very bright but not quite as distinct as my first, I shall however use it all the night.”

Together known as Arp 94, NGC 3226 and NGC 3227 are wedded in a gravitational dance 47.2 ± 0.2 million light-years away from us. Their complex dance has spawned a remarkable array of tidal tails as well as one tidal dwarf galaxy — a gravitationally bound condensation of gas and stars formed during the repeated encounters of the two parent galaxies.

The most recent journal paper on this captivating system can be perused here: https://www.aanda.org/articles/aa/full_html/2021/01/aa38955-20/aa38955-20.html

Observer’s Challenge Complete Report:

April 2021 OBSERVERS CHALLENGE _NGC 3226_NGC 3227